Planning a vacation when you are traveling with your autistic child can be slightly challenging because not every attraction you want to visit will be autism-friendly. And since vacations are supposed to be relaxing and fun, the last thing you want to do is feel stressed out from visiting the wrong attraction. Thankfully, there are plenty of autism-friendly attractions for you to choose from for your next vacation. While you may still want to check out a couple of the other non-autism-friendly attractions, I recommend choosing any of the options I am sharing below.
All kids love animals and aquariums allow everyone to see marine life without bright lights or sounds. Your autistic child will love roaming around from one tank to the next. The live shows are also low-key in aquariums and the different animals showing off are always a hit.
Zoos are very similar to aquariums. All zoos are very quiet and create a calming experience for all visitors. You will want to plan your visit to certain exhibits carefully because a few get quite crowded as the day goes on. The busiest exhibits at most zoos are normally the gorillas, orangutans, and pandas. However, you can check with the staff at the zoo you plan to visit to see which exhibits are the most crowded there.
Most autistic children love the water. If your child does, then the beach should be at the top of your list of things to do during your next vacation. Some beaches are obviously going to be busier than others. Therefore, it is best to research the beaches in the area you are visiting and then choose the best one to meet your needs.
Children’s museums are filled with interactive activities that keep children of all ages busy for hours. The calming setting of a museum will make it easy for your autistic child to relax and focus on what they are doing. Plus, many children’s museums are home to sensory-friendly activities and entire days dedicated to toning things down.
Some autistic children find it easier to ride in a car or on a plane or train than others. If your autistic child happens to love trains, they may be willing to take a scenic ride on one. And if they are hesitant to do that, they may at least want to check out the trains inside a train museum. If you happen to be around when a train is leaving or arriving at the station, you may want to have headphones available. The trains can be really loud, and the headphones will help make it a better, and quieter, experience.
Most of these attractions offer autism-friendly options all day long, while others will be a type of sensory day your child can enjoy. The sensory days are perfect for autistic children who really get overwhelmed with even the smallest sights, sounds, and smells.
While many parents believe a theme park is an excellent option for autistic children, that isn’t always the case. Some autistic children do well at theme parks, while others do not. If you are not sure how your child will react, I recommend checking out one of the more autistic-friendly theme parks like Discovery Cove or LEGOLAND.
Some attractions can be made autism-friendly with a little help from the staff, while others will simply never be the best place to visit during an autism-friendly vacation, which is why working with a travel agent that is known for planning autism-friendly vacations would be a good option! Of course, these attractions may have sensory days that will help alleviate your concerns. If you find an attraction that does have sensory days, it is best to visit during that time.
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